With Anthony Davis available, the Lakers are expected to be one of the first ones to make a play for him. Ideally, the Pels would be looking for a trade package centered around young player and draft picks, a way to put themselves in position to build their future.
But there might be one guy in particular that the Lakers would need to send in a deal for Davis. Mark Heisler of the Orange Country Register pointed out how Lonzo Ball could be the odd man out this trade season.
He came – with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft – he saw, he had his ups and, more often, his downs, and was all but eclipsed by his pain-in-the-backside father. Worst of all, Lonzo Ball arrived at the wrong time as the Lakers’ beloved young players became secondary in their all-out campaign to acquire more grown-up superstars – plural – to go with LeBron James.
Assuming the Lakers want a third superstar with LeBron and A.D. – from a list starting with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson – they have to slice more than $20 million off next season’s salary cap, which could go to New Orleans in a trade for Davis.
Aside from James’ $37.4 million, only two Lakers are under contract to make more than $2.1 million next season: Ball at $8.7 million, and Brandon Ingram at $7.3 million … making the young players likely, or all but certain, to be in any deal for A.D.
Noting Lonzo's disadvantages, and the fact that he's making more than $8 million next season could mean he is the first guy on the table when negotiations start.
For a #2 overall pick that showed so much promise, and still shows some flashes, it would be a devastating end to the Lonzo saga in Los Angeles. But when a guy like Anthony Davis becomes available, there's only so many teams that are willing to hold back in an effort to get him. Like it or not, the Ball brother makes the perfect bargaining chip, which the Lakers seem intent on using this deadline.